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Build a Makerspace 


Make Projects 

build, hack, tweak, share, discover, J 

Build a Makerspace 

Written By: Lindsey North 


• Drill m 

with assorted bits. 

• Level M) 

• Rubber Mallet (1) 

• Wrench (1) 


i • Makerspace kit (1) 

1 from ShoreTech Manufacturina 


Introduction by Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE 

How do we give young people more opportunities to become makers and learn practical 
skills they can apply to their own creative projects? 

The question comes up after each Maker Faire, when I see how young people are inspired 
by other makers. I know they leave and want to start making things. Could schools offer 
more opportunities for making things? Could we provide potential makers a physical space 
to meet — a "makerspace" that can be organized with tools and supplies, so they can work 
on projects? 

At World Maker Faire in New York City, we saw a solution — a simple building called Shelter 
2.0 (, designed by Robert Bridges to provide housing in areas hit by disaster. 
It's a digitally fabricated shelter, between a house and a tent, that can be put up (and taken 

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Build a Makerspace 

down) with simple tools in a matter of hours, even by young makers themselves. 

Can we find motivated parents and local makers to create a space and develop programs for 
local kids, in complete DIY fashion? Imagine a barn-raising of a makerspace in a local 
community. Nothing could be more in the spirit of making than young makers building their 
own space. 

Developed by Bridges with Bill Young of ShopBot, the standard modular makerspace is 
10'x16' with a barrel-shaped roof covered by canvas or corrugated tin. The plans are 
available under a Creative Commons license, and as a Google SketchUp model, so you can 
modify the design and find a local ShopBot user to create the shelter yourself. Or, we can 
provide the standard components as a package that ships in a 4'x8' crate. (We're still 
exploring different options for manufacturing and shipping.) All the instructions for building a 
maker- space will be online, along with videos that show you how. 

Now, you don't have to build this particular building. The important thing is to find a DIY way 
to create a makerspace that young makers can enjoy working and playing in. A space can 
inspire us to see making as something that takes place at school, but isn't school. It should 
be placed near the playground because we want our young makers to have fun and play, 
while making things. 

We can begin a process of open collaboration to define the materials, tools, and other 
supplies that are needed, and to identify programs and projects that work well for young 
makers. We can help identify mentors locally and online who can offer safety training, teach 
about tool use, and provide specialized expertise. 

In addition, we can develop awards for participation and achievement to recognize the 
accomplishments of young makers. Plus, Mini Maker Faires can be used as local 
fundraisers to provide support for makerspaces and also provide an opportunity for young 
makers to demonstrate their projects. 

Our goal is to build a network of makerspaces around the country (if not the world) and 
connect them online through . 

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• The files are available here in these formats: 

• ShopBot part files ..the OpenSBP format... that are ready to cut. They are the same files 
we use when we are cutting MakerSpaces and Shelters, and we've done all the work on 

• PartWorks CRV files for those that want to do your own toolpathing. 

• CAD drawings in DXF format that can be used to modify the individual pieces. 

• Cutting instructions are available in a Google Doc here . 

• And if they are cutting with a machine that only reads G-code, we've included a VERY 
rudimentary convertor that will convert ONLY the commands we use in your SBP files to 

• We make no guarantees that it will work for every one... there are lots of dialects of G- use it at your own risk and test the output files thoroughly before using them in 

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• Sleepers: these pieces are both the foundation and building backbone for a MakerSpace. 
All these pieces have one or two red rings engraved on the surface. 

• Ribs: The ribs are the framework for the MakerSpace, giving it its shape. The ribs are 
marked with red dots. 

• Fascia: The fascia pieces tie the wall stringers together and provide an overhang at the 
front and back. The fascia pieces are marked with blue dots. 

• Floor Stringer: These parts help to ensure the correct spacing for the ribs, and also 
support the seams in the floor panels. They have green rings to mark them. 

• Wall Stringers: These parts have a blue ring etched in the faces of the pockets. There are 
22 identical wall stringer parts that are bolted together with 1.25" bolts, flat washers, and 
nuts to make 11 wall stringer assemblies. 

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The sleepers for a Makerspace act as both the foundation and building backbone. 

Find and set the sleeper pieces. You can identify them by the red rings etched on their 
faces. Each set consists of a left (one red ring) and right (two red rings) face, a left (one 
red ring) and a right (two red rings) short core piece, and a long center core piece. Each 
sleeper is made up of two of these sets; there will be four all together for each 
makerspace. You'll also need eight 3/8" x 3.5" hex bolts for each sleeper, with sixteen flat 
washers and eight nuts. 

Find a pair of face pieces and insert a bolt in each hole from the back, so that the bolt 
shank points upward. These bolts will help keep the layers lined up. Put the two face 
pieces together, with the wavy joint matching. 

Add a long core piece, with the end with 2 red rings matching the short core that you just 
put in place. 

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• Add the second short core piece. This one will have two red rings on its face. 

• Find a second set of sleeper parts, just like the first, and add a second layer of core parts 
just like the first. 

• Add the second face pieces, completing the first sleeper. 

• Add flat washers and nuts and tighten with 9/16" wrenches. 

• Repeat the assembly steps with the second set of sleeper parts. 

• Once the 2 sleepers have been assembled they need to be accurately placed on the 
building site, leveled and supported as needed. 

• Stand the 2 sleepers upright, with the notches that will eventually hold the ribs facing up. 
Their inside faces must be 72" apart. 

• Use the 2 spacer pieces to ensure the correct spacing. 

• Use a long level, both along the sleepers and across the spacer pieces, to find the highest 

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There are an assortment of square leveling pads in the crate, with 3/4" holes drilled in 
them for dowels to help keep them stacked up evenly. 

Starting with the higher of the 2 sleepers, stack leveling pads and place them under the 
sleeper to make it level with the highest point. Place the pads evenly, with 3-4 stacks of 
leveling pads along each sleeper as needed. When that sleeper is level to your 
satisfaction, make the second sleeper level with it. 

Double check the level as you work to make sure that everything stays level. 

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Step 7 — Assemble the ribs 1 halves 

• There are 8 rib assemblies in a 13' Makerspace, and they are assembled in 2 halves, a top 
and a bottom. The bottom halves are installed on the sleepers, and then the top halves are 
added. The 2 that go on the ends are assembled with an extra threshold piece at the 
bottom; they will be assembled last. 

• The ribs are very similar looking to the fascia pieces, with the ribs having red dots marking 
the parts and the fascia pieces having blue dots. 

• We'll be assembling the ribs in 2 halves to make them easy to handle. Find the two L- 
shaped rib pieces. The shorter one will have 5 red dots in one pocket and 1 red dot in the 
other, and the longer one will have 5 red dots in one pocket and 4 in the other. The wider 
joist piece with 5 red dots on both ends will connect these together into a lower rib 

• Pick a large open area to assemble the ribs. 

• Bolt 6 of these halves together with 3/8" x 1 .25" bolts, flat washers on both sides, and hex 

• The 2 ribs that will become the end ribs have an added piece across the bottom. 

• The holes in these threshold pieces line up with the inner-most holes in the joists so they 
will require longer bolts. You will need two 1 .25" x 3/8" bolts for each of these rib 
assemblies and two 2" x 3/8" bolts, with flat washers on both sides and nuts. 

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The remaining rib pieces will be assembled into the top half of the ribs. All eight of these 
rib assemblies are the same. 

The number of dots in the pockets to tell you how the pieces go together. 

Once you have a top rib assembly completed, fasten the joints with 1 .25" x 3/8" bolts, flat 
washers on both sides, and 3/8" nuts. 

When you're done you will have 8 top rib halves, 6 bottom rib halves without the added 
threshold pieces, and 2 bottom rib halves WITH the added threshold. 

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The bottom rib halves are installed in the notches in the leveled sleepers. 

Make sure the stringers are leveled and properly spaced as described in steps 4 and 5. 
This is critical if you want your MakerSpace to go together easily. 

Insert an end rib section (with the added threshold) in the first stringer notch. Make sure 
the threshold is on the outside face. 

Add a middle rib half, alternating ends so that the tall upright is on the other side of the 

Continue installing the rest of the rib sections, leaving the other one with the added 
threshold piece for last. 

Install the last rib half (with a threshold) in the last stringer notch, with the threshold piece 
facing the outside. 

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Step 10 — Assemble the wall and floor stringers. 

The wall and floor stringers are assembled the same way and the pieces are very similar. 
The wall stringers have a blue ring engraved in their pockets, and the floor stringers have 
green rings. 

All 22 wall stringer pieces are the same, and are joined together to make 1 1 wall stringers 

To assemble a wall stringer, flip one of the pieces end-for-end. 

Put the 2 halves together. 

Align the pockets. 

Bolt the stringer pieces together with 3/8" x 1 .25" bolts, with a flat washer on both sides 
and a nut. 

The floor stringers with green rings are assembled exactly the same way, so just follow 
the steps above. There are 4 floor stringer pieces, which are joined together to make 2 
floor stringer assemblies. 

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Step 11 — Add the floor stringers. 

The floor stringers help stabilize the ribs and also support the seams of the floor panels. 

Carefully carry one of the floor stringers into place so that it lines up with the notches in 
the ribs, and slide it into place. Try to keep it level as you do this so that it doesn't jam. 

When it's in place, the top of the stringer will be level with the top of the ribs. 

Repeat with the second floor stringer. 

Step 12 — Add the bottom set of wall stringers. 

• The wall stringers help keep the ribs in alignment. We'll install the bottom 2 wall stringers 
on each side next. 

• Supporting one of the wall stringers to keep it flat, line it up with the bottom set of notches 
in the sides of the ribs. 

• Slide it into place evenly so that one end doesn't get ahead of the other and jam. 

• Repeat this process with one above it, and 2 in the matching notches on the other side. 

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Step 13 — Add the floor panels. 

• The floor panels help to keep your Makerspace square, and also provide a stable work 
platform for the rest of the assembly steps. 

• There are 6 floor panels. There are shallow circles in one face of each panel that mark the 
location of drywall screws that fasten the floor panels to the ribs. Lay out the floor panels 
so that this side is facing up. 

• We'll start with the shorter of the 2 center row floor panels. 

• You can identify the center floor panels because they have a series of notches on both 
long edges. We'll refer to these notches as "stitches." They help to both align the edges 
and support the panels on the ribs. 

• There are also stitches on one of the short ends where it will meet another panel. The end 
of the panel that matches the end ribs with the threshold piece only has one notch. 

• Carefully drop this panel in place, with the stitched end toward the middle of the 
makerspace. Line up the tabs in the ribs with the notches in the floor panels. When they all 
line up the panel will drop into place. 

• Repeat with the longer center panel, making sure that the shorter end with the stitches 
meets the panel that was just installed. 

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Step 14 

The edge floor panels have one long edge with stitches and one straight edge. The stitched 
edge will match the edges of the installed center panels, and the straight edges will be 
against the sidewall edges. You'll install the edge panels so that the seams in the short 
edges are staggered with the center panels for added stability. 

Place one of the longer edge panels next to the row of center panels. The edge panels are 
mirror images of each other, so find the longer panel that lines up with the stitches in the 
center row that has the shallow recesses for screw holes facing up (this is confusing, I 
know, but it's pretty obvious when you do it). 

Add the rest of the floor panels and you'll have a stable platform to work on. 

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Step 15 — Add the top rib halves. 

Adding the top half of the ribs makes your Makerspace take shape! 

With a stable platform to work on it's time to add the top halves of the ribs. They are all the 
same so just start at one end and work toward the other. These rib sections are not very 
heavy but are somewhat awkward, so it will help if you have 3 people working on this step: 
2 to lift the sections in place and 1 to insert and tighten the bolts. 

Line up the first section with the end rib and bolt them together with 1 .25" x 3/8" bolts, flat 
washers, and 3/8" nuts. 

Continue adding rib sections until they're all done. 

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Step 16 — Add the inside wall panels. 

The inside wall panels, cut from 1/2" plywood, help keep the ribs spaced correctly and 

Add one more pair of wall stringers, so that you have three on each side. 

There are 4 wall panels: 2 long ones and 2 short. 

Start with one of the short wall panels. There are shallow notches in the longer sides that 
will mate with the rounded tabs on the ribs. 

The end with stitches matches the stitches on the longer wall panel. 

Lift this wall panel into position, with the end with the stitches toward the middle of the 
Makerspace. The bottom of the wall panel will drop into the gap at the edge of floor panel, 
and the notches at the bottom will slot onto the ribs. The rounded tabs in the ribs will 
match the notches in the top edge; if not, you may have to wiggle the ribs a little to get 
things squared up. 

Install the rest of the wall panels the same way. 

Step 17 — Add the rest of the wall stringers 

Install the rest of the wall stringers in the same way as the previous ones 

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Step 18 — Assemble and install the fascias. 

No instructions yet. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 0-30 1 1 :05:1 4 PM. 

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